COSS

FOSSFA Weekend

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So on 12th October, i headed into Accra, for an epic FOSSFA Weekend.

Serving on the FOSSFA Council for a second term, this was once of the most critical meetings that FOSSFA held for its council, for out of this, a new FOSSFA executive was to be elected. The Council itself has been elected via a pioneering online vote, cast by all members. The current executive, has more than satisfactorily served enough terms. They served, selflessly, always, sacrificially, and they did it well.

A new executive has been elected out of this weekend, and its not just new wine, the wine-skins are new as well. A complete change of guard, one thing remains clear, FOSSFA can only go from one level to the next. The new executive has passion, lots of it, and they are younger, and more energetic. The air smells so good, and so fresh, that FOSSFA has used the weekend to establish commissions.

Here they are:

Judy Okite from Kenya, voted unanimously as the new FOSSFA Chair, taking over from Nnenna Nwakamna of Ivory Coast
Brian Ssennoga from Uganda voted as the new FOSSFA Secretary, taking over from Samer Azmy from Egypt
Neatness Msemo from Tanzania voted as the new FOSSFA Treasurer, taking over from Milton Aineruhanga from Uganda
Suen Ojedeji from Nigeria voted unanimously as the new FOSSFA CTO. (New Position)

Program Areas Committee Chairs:
a) Business & Innovations – Dele Ajisomo, from Nigeria
b) Networking & Capacity Building – Katim Touray from The Gambia
c) Education – Joris Komen from Namibia
d) Legal and IP – Nnenna Nwakamna from Ivory Coast
e) Localization & Diversity – Solomon Gizaw, from Ethiopia/Ireland
f) Government, Policy, Open Government and Data – Dorothy Gordon, from Ghana
g) IDLELO 6 Chair – Joe Sevilla from Kenyan

Lots of work to do, taking Free and Open Source Software allover Africa, but for now, we will wind up and integrate ict@innovation, as we run up to Nairobi 2014 for IDLELO

FOSSFA is the Free and Open Source Software Foundation for Africa, and can be found at http://www.fossfa.net , and on Twitter: @FOSSFA, and on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/groups/163634167084849/?fref=ts

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My 10 year old Open Source Hero

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Please Meet DR. EDGAR DAVID VILLANUEVA NUÑEZ, Congressman of the Republic of Perú.

He is my Open Source Hero for the year 2012 – and here is why!

10 years ago, The Peruvian government introduced a bill (English trans.) mandating the use of open source software by the state. The bill admirably proclaims:

“The basic principles which inspire the Bill are linked to the basic guarantees of a state of law, such as:

  • Free access to public information by the citizen.
  • Permanence of public data.
  • Security of the State and citizens.”

Microsoft General Manager Señor JUAN ALBERTO GONZÁLEZ responded by writing this letter to Peruvian Congressmen Edgar Villanueva Nuñez, containing many of the fallacious arguments that Microsoft has used against open source software in the past.

Congressman DR. EDGAR DAVID VILLANUEVA NUÑEZ replied with an insightful letter that cuts through the empty Microsoft arguments to expose the fallacies of its F.U.D. tactics.

FULL REPLY HERE

 

Final CALL: #LinuxEssentials at #COSS

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The Uganda Centre for Open Source Software continues to receive applications for all those interested in Linux Essentials.

Linux Essentials Technician is the new Certified Introductory course from LPI International, for all those interested in knowing how to use Linux. More Details on the website here.

Classes will be running 6-8pm, starts Monday 9th July 2012. Confirm participation before end of this week.

Contacts: +256 753 222 842 and +256 754 245 700

Email: training[at] coss [dot] ug

Completion of #LPIC Exam

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Happening NOW: Completion of #LPIC Exam Lab for #UMU-Nkozi, Exams 101 and 102 for 8 participants, by #COSS. #LUG, #FOSSFA @marzma @COSSug

That was the tweet, that confirmed our completion of a successful training and Certification camp, conducted at Uganda Matrys University in Nkozi. In all, 8 participants sat for LPIC 101 and LPIC 102, 2 exams that contribute to LPI Level 1 (Junior) Certification. We are excited, because, 1 year ago, we feared because one of the promoters of the FOSS and OSS Chapter in Uganda closed its doors.

COSS reopened the chapter, and began where we had strengths. As we build the community of FOSS and Linux enthusiasts, we intend to deliver, one class at a time, better Linux – certified Ugandans.

We are grateful to our partners FOSSFA, GIZ; both under the ict@innovation project, as well as S7, that continues to generously host us.

Would Government of Uganda use Ubuntu?

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Much of this article, has been shamelessly lifted from Mark Shuttleworth’s Blog because, am not sure if they would read it there, perhaps am over confident that they would read it here! So here it goes…along with my rumblings

Governments are making increasingly effective use of Ubuntu in large-scale projects, from big data to little schools. There is growing confidence in  open source in government quarters, and growing sophistication in how they engage with it.

But adopting open source is not just about replacing one kind of part with another. Open source is not just a substitute for shrink-wrapped proprietary software. It’s much more malleable in the hands of industry and users, and you can engage with it very differently as a result.  I’m interested in hearing from thought leaders in the civil service on ways they think governments could get much more value with open source, by embracing that flexibility. For example, rather than one-size-fits-all software, why can’t we deliver custom versions of Ubuntu for different regions or countries or even departments and purposes? Could we enable the city government of Frankfurt to order PC’s with the Ubuntu German Edition pre-installed?

Read the rest of this entry »

COSS and Linux Training

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Happy New Year to all of You.

Its been a very hot entry into 2012, from Kampala, and the heat could not have been multiplied by the excitement that comes with knowing Africa’s premier FOSS gathering – IDLELO – is round the corner. Its a great time, as my last experience ushered me into the world of Linux and FOSS on the continent, paving the way for what has now become my life and bread – Linux Systems Administration, Training, and Advocacy.
Last year, I introduced COSS, and one month into this year, its great to share with you our challenges, and experiences, and what we would like to see happen this year. Perhaps you will be tickled to become a part of what we are trying to achieve.

2011 Highlights:
Closure of EACOSS (But NOT death of FOSS in Uganda – March 2011), LUG Meeting that featured a discussion on FOSS Training; COSS Founding and Opening, Launch of Website – July 2011, LPIC Level 1 – 2 exam labs, Oct – Dec 2011; COSS at TECHFEST – Nov 2011; and a little known possibility of a merger with a local firm.
 2012 Outlook:
LPI’s Linux Essentials – Manual Writing, Launch; More LPIC Labs; that Merger; More LUG involvement; Partnerships and Projects; IDLELO (See Above); E-Learning at COSS (See Here).

Our experience has been that, we have learned from the best, and as a result, we can be very good with our planning. But the real place the rubber meets the road, is in the numbers of Ugandans who are willing to walk into COSS as ask for a Linux Certification. We have great presence within the Kampala LUG but even that is not enough to convince the converted, when it comes to certification. So our strategy, as anticipated for 2012, is to target employers of Linux Professionals. We want to find out from them, how do they tell what “3yrs Linux Experience” really is, and how can we help. But we also think, lets not teach old dogs new tricks, lets go to the schools, where the children are, lets see how to get into Primary and Secondary Schools with Linux.

When you have no riding Government Policy (despite CIPESA’s efforts), and no big name firm backing you, its hard, even harder when you have a day-job. Though our priorities are right, its time to ask interview panels, whether they are qualified enough themselves, to tell if the new recruit has the right Linux Skills. And we want to be there for both. Moreover, its time to ask ourselves, are we ready to leave our desk jobs, to move FOSS Activities and FOSS Training into the 8-5 slot, and the replace the rest else where? Are We?

What about the economics of FOSS Training?
How much is enough to cover your training skill set and time? And how much do you take home, if the company has got to grow? What if its just a TOT requirement, with not much enforceable follow up, what’s the motivation to return home and train others? You have to love FOSS enough, to give off a few freebies…afterall, its FOSS.

Finally, you have to wonder, Are Africans really interested in FOSS? Yes they are, i think. How much they show that is a story for another time.
So, hopefully we meet sometime this year, and we talk about your FOSS experiences, but until then, i wish you the very best of 2012.

How to install an SSL Certificate from Godaddy onto your SME Server

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This is my attempt at documenting my experience on renewing an installed SSL Certificate, generated by Godaddy, onto an SME server, release 7.5.1.

Go to a shell prompt on your SME server, and get into a familiar location, such as /home/e-smith.

Generate a 2048-bit RSA Private key, because as processing power of computers increases, 1024-bit private keys will be broken by the end of 2011 – in one month’s time! Run this command: 

# openssl req -newkey rsa:2048 -nodes -keyout yourdomain.key -out yourdomain.csr

This will bring up a shell based dialog where you add details of your domain. When its done, it will create two files in the location in which you have been working. so look out for yourdomain.key and yourdomain.csr files.

If your server (like mine) has no GUI, use scp to copy these 2 files to another location, the same location you will use to access your account at godaddy.com website. Otherwise, use any filemanager to locate the 2 files, and open the yourdomain.csr file.

In your godaddy account, Click on Certificates, and when your certificate is listed, select it. The menus at the top should now become active. Click on Re-key.

In the dialog box that opens, paste in the contents of yourdomain.csr file. Be sure to select GoDaddy as your Certificate Issuing Organization, before clicking on the black Re-Key button at the bottom. 

A new certificate will be created for your domain. Select it using the checkbox, and click on Download. Your browser should download a zip file, same name as your domain. Save this to the desktop, or anywhere you can easily trace it when you get back to the commandline shell. The download will include 2 files: gd_bundle.crt and yourdomain.crt.

 Extract these into folder named CERT (folder name is optional, does not have to be very specific).

Copy (or move, although i prefer to keep a copy elsewhere) these 2 files to the location on the server where the yourdomain.key and yourdomain.csr files are already located. In my case:

# cd /home/e-smith

# scp user@machinewithgui:/home/user/Desktop/CERT/* .  //// unless yo a commandline pro, this dot is intentional!

Optional: Use scp or putty or any client to drop a copy of the files created by the open ssl command, into the CERT folder on the machien with GUI.

This will ensure that you have 4 new files in each of the 2 locations. the 4 files should be:

yourdomain.key, yourdomain.csr, yourdomain.crt, gd_bundle.crt.

Now we need to move our files into the rightful locations. To do this, copy yourdomain.crt into /home/e-smith/ssl.crt/ and yourdomain.key into /home/e-smith/ssl.key/

Also, do copy gd_bundle.crt into /usr/share/ssl/certs/

The SME Server now needs to be told about your new certificate, and the key that was used to generate it. To do this, run these commands: 

# config setprop modSSL crt /home/e-smith/ssl.crt/yourdomain.crt

# config setprop modSSL key /home/e-smith/ssl.key/yourdomain.key

Be sure to delete the existing PEM file, as a new one will be created anyway. Run this command:

# rm /home/e-smith/ssl.pem/yourdomain.pem

Finally, run this command:

# signal-event post-upgrade; singal-event reboot

 

Please do let me know if this helps you in anyway.